Taliban Talks Hit a Wall Over Deeper Disagreements, Officials Say – The New York Times

The Afghan president was signing up for nothing less than a gamble, with the details of what might transpire at Camp David vague even to his closest circle of advisers. But stuck in a difficult position, he didn’t have much to lose, a senior official said.

After the talks were called off, the Afghan government blamed the Taliban, saying that the violence was making the peace process difficult. Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for Mr. Ghani, lashed out at the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, saying that the group had shown no commitment to peace despite having protection in the Gulf country and freedom of movement.

“The Taliban’s honeymoon in Qatar needs to be ended,” Mr. Sediqqi said.

It recent weeks, it had been increasingly clear that the United States and the Taliban, after nine rounds of painstaking negotiations over nearly a year, had ironed out most of the issues between them. The chief American envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, declared that the agreement document had been finalized “in principle.”

That deal, criticized by Afghan officials for lacking measures that would ensure stability, would include a timeline of about 16 months for a gradual withdrawal of the remaining 14,000 American troops, with about 5,000 of them leaving in 135 days after its signing. In return, the Taliban would provide counterterrorism assurances to ease American fears of repeat of attacks on home soil — such as the attacks by Al Qaeda on Sept. 11, 2001, that precipitated the war in Afghanistan.

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